Energie Cottbus 0-2 Greuther Fürth

The first half formations.

Fürth beat Energie Cottbus 2-0 and shot back to the top of the 2. Bundesliga table thanks to a performance that was built on a solid defence and deadly attack. The Bavarians were just too good for their East German hosts, who struggled for inspiration and urgency. Although the visitors were under the kosh for about 20 minutes straight during the second half, Cottbus barely created a single chance in that period, let alone during the whole match. Fürth could easily have scored several more goals at the Stadion der Freundschaft this afternoon, and nobody in green put a foot wrong all game: defensive midfielder Edgar Prib was in particularly fine form, and my man of the match. Surely there can be nobody out there now who doubts the title-winning credentials of Mike Büskens’ side?

Match preview here.

Fürth looked comfortable on the ball from the first peep of Florian Meyer’s whistle, although all they had to show for their early spell of ball monopolisation was Olivier Occean’s sliced left-footed shot which sailed over. Cottbus were just as keen to knock the ball about in a calm and slow manner whenever they got a hold on possession, and with neither side doing much in the way of pressing, the first ten minutes were a largely unforgettable affair, the two coaches clearly waiting for their opposite number to show his hand. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus 1-4 St Pauli

The first half formations.

St Pauli moved level on points with 2. Bundesliga league-leaders Eintracht Frankfurt and Greuther Fürth after punishing Energie Cottbus’ mistake-laden defence. The home side cannot stop shipping goals this season, but the worst part was that against St Pauli, they barely created enough chances to compensate for their numerous lapses in concentration at the back. Full credit to the visitors, though, who put in a disciplined performance on and off the ball, capping it by showing their top-flight credentials in front of goal.

Match preview here. 

The opening exchanges were a tad bitty, with both sides looking to use throw-ins from their respective second-third areas of the pitch for the lone strikers to flick on for a roving midfielder. However, fouls and poor clearances, passes and free-kick delivery kept possession going back and fore. Plus, with neither side under the kosh, the midfield and centre of the pitch area remained congested.  The Cottbus defence were the first to try a bit of a deep melina in order to drag the visitors’ banks up the field and widen their corridors, but Pauli’s off-ball 4-4-2 barely pressed, and in the end, the sloppiness that pervaded this encounter in the early stages was epitomised by an underhit long-diagonal from Christopher Schorch, equalled only by Sebastian Schachten’s subsequent scoop-pass for Marius Ebbers, which rolled harmlessly to a grateful Thorsten Kirschbaum. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus-St Pauli preview

Two of the pre-season promotion favourites will try and get their flagging 2. Bundesliga campaigns back on track on Saturday afternoon as St Pauli visit Energie Cottbus. Both teams lost last weekend, with Cottbus going down 4-2 to Fortuna Düsseldorf, and St Pauli suffering their first home defeat at the hands of Aue.

Saturday lunchtime’s visitors have looked a bit iffy on the road so far this season, having lost to Eintracht Braunschweig and Eintracht Trier (in the cup), and also sharing a draw with another Eintracht, Frankfurt. However, they comprehensively and professionally defeated Karlsruhe in their last away match, showcasing the effectiveness of new coach André Schubert’s floor-based and positionally-fluid football system. Cottbus, meanwhile, sat five points and five places behind Pauli in ninth, are certainly missing the presence of last season’s 2. Bundesliga golden boot Nils Petersen (who joined Bayern Munich over the summer). Continue reading

Fortuna Düsseldorf 4-2 Energie Cottbus

The first half formations.

Fortuna Düsseldorf crawled back to the top of the 2. Bundesliga table thanks to a disciplined and ruthless first half display that took full advantage of three key Energie Cottbus errors. However, despite being reduced to ten men straight into the second half, the visitors nigh-on instantly scored two goals to pull it back to 3-2! However, former BVB striker Dimitar Rangelov stupidly lost his head, and earned himself a red card with 16 minutes still to play. Down to nine men, Cottbus’ chances of taking even a point from the game were gone, but they deserve credit anyway for a much-improved second half showing where they had Düsseldorf on the ropes.

Match preview here.

The visitors got us under way amid a tremendous noise from a highly-populated crowd, and managed to launch the first ball into the box in the opening minute. This came from the long-throw weapon of right-back Christopher Schorch, but Dimitar Rangelov wasted the chance to make something of the invitation through his over-physicality. For the next five minutes, though, the ball belonged to the hosts. They went calmly from their own box to Cottbus’, spreading side to side with confidence and precision. It was becoming a backs-to-the-wall job for the visitors, and with the box blocked off by bodies, this was what perhaps encouraged Andreas Lambertz to try his luck from range in the fourth minute. Thorsten Kirschbaum dropped the tricky – but not particularly fierce – shot straight into the path of Max Beister, who had been allowed to wander freely into the path of a tap-in by the ball-watching Roger. The in-form attacker made no mistake, firing the 2. Bundesliga high-fliers into an early 1-0 lead! Continue reading

Fortuna Düsseldorf-Energie Cottbus preview

It’s third against seventh on Saturday afternoon in 2. Bundesliga as high-flying Fortuna Düsseldorf host Jekyll & Hyde side Energie Cottbus. The last time Cottbus travelled to the Esprit Arena (back in January for a league tie), a goal from Nils Petersen wasn’t enough to stop the East Germans falling to a 3-1 defeat. However, Claus-Dieter ‘Pele’ Wollitz’s side finished higher up the division come the end of the season, although neither of these clubs ever really posed a big challenge for promotion in 2010/11. This time round, though, Düsseldorf’s start indicates that they’ll be in or around the top three positions come the end of the season, while you can never rule out Cottbus (especially as even after an erratic start, they’re only five points off top spot).

Saturday’s hosts have had a fantastic start to the season, and are unbeaten in the nine games played coming into this clash. That run includes Düsseldorf knocking KSV Hessen Kassel out of the DFB-Pokal, while even draws away at the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt are not to be sniffed at. Continue reading

FSV Frankfurt-Duisburg preview

The third round of the new 2. Bundesliga season continues today, with last season’s cup finalists travelling to one of the division’s smaller sides. Nevertheless, Hans-Jürgen Boysen’s FSV Frankfurt have made a better start to the season than their more illustrate opponents – taking one point from a possible six, compared to Milan Šašić’s Duisburg, joint bottom and yet to take a point. Nevertheless, it’s surely only a matter of time before Duisburg bounce back, not just because of the size of the club, but also because of the players they’ve managed to bring in. Some of the more notable additions include Jürgen Gjasula, acquired from FSV, Florian Fromlowitz (Hannover), Vasileios Pliatsikas (Schalke), Valeri Domovchiyski (Hertha BSC), Džemal Berberović (Litex Lovech), Jiayi Shao and Emil Jula (both Energie Cottbus), and Sergei Karimov (Wolfsburg). Essentially, therefore, they’ve brought in the spine of a brand new team. Thus, it’s going to take a while for these new players to gel, but as they have been added to an already strong 2. Bundesliga squad (albeit one which has lost five players of note in striker Stefan Maierhofer, goakeeper David Yelldell and midfielders Olcay Şahan, Ivica Banović  and Filip Trojan, who chipped in with seven assists last season), when it clicks, they’ll be up there challenging for promotion. Continue reading

Energie Cottbus-1860 Munich preview

The third round of the 2011/12 2. Bundesliga season continues tomorrow with two of the division’s bigger sides going head to head. Both Energie Cottbus and 1860Munich have spent time in the top tier during the latest millennium, but if you had to put your money on either of the two getting back there in the near future, it’d go on current table-toppers Cottbus.

With two league wins out of two under their belt, Claus-Dieter ‘Pele’ Wollitz’s side have made a strong start to the 2. Bundesliga campaign, ahead of every side bar Eintracht Braunschweig, who’ve also taken six points from a possible six. Continue reading

Duisburg 0-5 Schalke

The formations in the 30th minute, with Duisburg trailing their Bundesliga opponents and geographical near-neighbours (a 25-minute drive apart from one another) 2-0.

Schalke defeated Ruhr Valley rivals MSV Duisburg to win the DFB-Pokal in one of the most one-sided German cup finals in history. Schalke were in control from the word ‘go’, seeing off their soon-to-depart superstar goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in style.

Although this tie pitted a top flight side who had appeared in a Champions League semi-final earlier this month against a lower division outfit who had finished 22 points behind 2. Bundesliga winners Hertha BSC (whose Olympic Stadium ground was used to stage this final), a David against Goliath cliché would have been unfair.

Schalke, on the whole, have been in poor form all season domestically, and after finishing in 14th in the league, Duisburg, technically 12 places below them after an eighth-placed finish in the second tier, were actually closer to Schalke than Ralf Rangnick’s side were to their arch-rivals and top flight winners BVB in the German football ladder. Up against a side seemingly all-but on their holidays, Duisburg had the chance to claim their first piece of silverware since a German Amateur Championships win in 1987, not to mention qualifying for the Europa League in the process. Continue reading

Bochum 3-1 Duisburg

The first half formations.

Bochum are just 180 minutes away from promotion to the Bundesliga after an accomplished performance against also-ran Duisburg.

This round 34 tie in 2. Bundesliga involved two sides with all still to play for. Bochum, two points ahead of fourth-placed Greuther Fürth, knew that a win here would earn them a place in the Bundesliga’s two-legged play-off against the top division’s third-worst side, Borussia Mönchengladbach. But if Bochum were to draw this home tie and Greuther Fürth won their home game against mid-table Fortuna Düsseldorf it would be the minnows who’d leapfrog Bochum into third spot due to a far superior goal difference. So ultimately, it was third-place or nothing for Friedhelm Funkel’s side, with Augsburg and Hertha BSC having already secured the league’s only two automatic promotion spots. Continue reading